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Special teams a major concern for Flyers

Jan 30, 2013, 1:46 PM EDT

Danny Briere stopped by Henrik Lundqvist Getty Images

On Monday, Flyers owner Ed Snider provided some no-nonsense analysis when asked about his team’s 2-4-0 start to the season.

“We better damn get our special teams straightened out or we’re in trouble,” Snider said, per the Philadelphia Inquirer. “That’s what it’s all about in today’s game — special teams — because five on five, it’s hard as hell to score nowadays.”

Unfortunately for the Flyers, it was more of the same Tuesday when they damn didn’t get their special teams straightened out against the Rangers.

True, their lone goal in a 2-1 loss came on the power play; however, they failed to convert on a lengthy 5-on-3 man advantage in the second period — a failure that left forward Wayne Simmonds fuming.

“You’re playing a goalie like [Henrik] Lundqvist and only get two shots on a 5-on-3?” said Simmonds. “You’re definitely not going to score. I’m pretty sure we will work on that.

“Our power play — we have to smarten up and convert on our chances. Get our shots through. We’ll figure it out. My guess is we will be working on our power play a little bit for next little while.”

The Flyers’ power play — which features no shortage of offensive firepower — currently ranks 23rd in the NHL, converting at just 13.5 percent. Last year, it finished sixth, at 19.7 percent.

And it’s not just the power play — the penalty kill has been even worse (29th, 67.7 percent). Last night, the Rangers scored the game-winning goal with the man advantage.

  1. xflyersx - Jan 30, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    They look like the 2006 Flyers. Gross, ugly hockey. Bryz is the only one playing slightly above handicapped right now. Snider & Co. put too much faith in the young guys putting up 20+ goals again.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jan 30, 2013 at 3:09 PM

      I don’t think it’s a matter of skill. It’s mental right now. The goals aren’t coming easily for them so they’re pressing so much, trying to be perfect, instead of just letting the game unfold and taking what’s available. And that leads to critical mistakes.

      • xflyersx - Jan 30, 2013 at 3:26 PM

        I think that they actually miss JVR & Jagr, and that there is a need for another goal scorer. But I do see what you’re saying, and agree with it to an extent.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Jan 30, 2013 at 3:41 PM

        There’s no question they miss Jagrs puck possession skills, especially on the man advantage. But IMO there is atleast enough talent to be a playoff team. It just seems like the entire roster is slumping. Briere looks hungry though and I hope that rubs off on some of the young guys. I do agree they could use another scorer, but remember Hartnell was that guy last season. His spark and ability is a major loss.

  2. hockeywithdrawal - Jan 30, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    If I could only take this opportunity to snicker and smear…but the Pens have the same damn issue. Next time…….

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jan 30, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      Haha of course.

  3. philly4lyfe - Jan 30, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    alright, we’ll call it a draw.

    oh I see, running away eh?

  4. digbysellers - Jan 30, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    Old Top Snider is going to give himself an infarction before the season is over…he’s gettin’ his old, leathery stretched face in a bunch and that’s when people should be nervous around the building.

  5. phillyphanatic77 - Jan 30, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    I’ve said it before on here… the Flyers biggest problem on the powerplay is the hesitancy to shoot. They are attempting to make a perfect pass to get a wide open look at the goal and it’s just not possible. All they’ve done each PP is pass around the outside and they make so many passes without shooting that eventually the passes are intercepted and turn into short handed scoring chances. There have been countless short handed breakaways by opposing teams. And it all goes back to making one or two too many passes. Just shoot the puck! There’s no excuse, especially on a full two minutes of 5 on 3, why you should only be attempting one shot. That’s a disgrace. Not to mention Halpern lost his stick for 20 seconds. And Giroux constantly has his back or side to the goal so goalies and PKers know he’s just gonna pass. What made him dangerous on the PP was the threat to shoot or pass. They beat the Rangers last week by scoring dirty goals off deflections and rebounds. That happens when you’re constantly peppering a goaltender. You’re not gonna find Lundqvist out of position just because you’re quickly passing it around the perimeter. I don’t understand it, it’s like they’re struggling so much to score that they press and only want to take a shot that’s guaranteed to go in. Well you’re not gonna find that in the NHL, you have to throw the puck into traffic and hope for a deflection or lucky bounce. Shoot the damn puck!

  6. malkinrulez - Jan 30, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    U can copy phillyphanatic77 comments about flyers pp and apply to Pens! I never thought that these 2 teams would have issues on the PP!

  7. ml3939 - Jan 30, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    The power play, offense and Giroux have all been terrible. The power play is doing nothing to create mismatches- they are playing as if the are way to dependent on Giroux who in turn is pressing way to much. His passing decisions and zone entry choices have been very poor. The passing needs to be better all around. If they can’t get the other team to scramble for the puck they are not going to outman them or get the goalie out of position. And how about putting together at least one line that has worked in the past- Briere-Schenn-Simmonds. You could then have your top line as Giroux-Read-Voracek until Hartnell returns. The checking line hasn’t worked out that well so far, so removing Voracek will not be costly. He is certainly not Jagr but has excellent puck handling skills and could provide more space for Giroux and Read.

  8. macjacmccoy - Jan 31, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    Its weird its like the teams that had a lot of guys over seas are the ones playing the worst right now. The exact opposite of what everyone thought would happen. Every team plays different and I dont know but maybe these guys who went over seas and played with completely different team mates got use to that style of play. Which might actually make it take longer for the teams with a lot of over seas players to gel then the ones that just had a lot of guys take time off.

  9. bowman20 - Jan 31, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    The scoring and PP issues are all a mind-f$&k right now. Like everyone has been saying, looking for the perfect pass. I was hoping that putting up 7 a few games back (obviously against a struggling Panthers team but still) would get everyone’s mind straight. This season us too damn short for issues like these. Stop with the 4 to 7 passes and start peppering the net for those deflections or rebound goals. Help out your goalie who actually has been playing pretty well for now.

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